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Motorcyclists declare war on Hanover Street restaurants, Councilor LaMattina

The Wild Bunch set, still fuming over a LaMattina-backed ordinance that dares to tell them how loud their bikes can be, is trying to come up with ways to express their disgruntlement.

A pair of California bikers propose taking all the parking spaces on Hanover Street at 5 p.m. on a Friday to show the restaurants what's what:

... To boycott all of Boston is a very broad target. It appears some Hanover Street restaurants contacted LaMattina to target bikers, so you and your friends should target them back. There are ways to do this, such as showing up in large numbers at 5pm on a Friday night and taking up all parking spaces while you go and visit the Paul Revere House. ...

Of course, the joke's on them because the Paul Revere House closes at 5:15 p.m. Still, can you imagine if they teamed up with the Commercial Avenue Segway guy? Chaos in the streets!

Via Matt Conti.



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A group of scooter riders in the city did just this same thing by blocking up all of the parking for a block around the Gardens with a single scooter per meter (per the law) before the city finally broke down and acknowledged that even with the RMV license plate changes, the city would not enforce a "no licensed vehicles on the sidewalk" ticketing policy for scooters with the new Limited Use Vehicle plates.

One thing that cripples this city pretty heavily is its lack of parking. Intentionally, legally blocking it is a great way to put a boot into the gut of residents and businesses.

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"One thing that cripples this city pretty heavily is its lack of parking."

I hope you mean "lack of scooter/motorcycle parking" because there's nothing crippling about having an amount of parking spots that encourages walking or transit.

What does hurt is mismanagement of the existing parking. In the north end, people want to dine at 7, but the meters are free after 6, meaning zero turnover. What should be done is enforce parking until 10pm, but allow 3 hour parking after 5.

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This isn't disgruntlement on the part of the bikers over the lack of motorcycle parking.

This is them thinking they're allowed to be dangerously and obnoxiously loud (especially loud in urban areas with brick buildings and narrow streets which causes the sound to be magnified) when it is in fact illegal to be that loud no matter the source (tailpipes, music, shouting, etc). Many of these bikers' tailpipes are outputting deafening levels of noise at 80-95 decibels and sometimes even more as the sound echoes amongst buildings.

Municipal Code
The Boston Municipal Code (chapter 16, section 26) sets the general standard for noise that is unreasonable or excessive: louder than 50 decibels between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., or louder than 70 decibels at all other hours. The code includes specific provisions regarding car alarms, construction hours, and loud speakers and other amplification devices.

And don't get me wrong I love motorcycles, well OK only Ducati bikes, But I would never be so rude as to ride around without decent mufflers.
As to the "loud pipes save lives" lie?
Even with proper mufflers a motorcycle is still no quiet purr. It's more than loud enough such that any car drivers will hear you unless they themselves are violating the noise ordinance with loud music. And if you ride in the middle of the lane and don't try to cut between cars they can see you too. If someone is going to run you down on your motorcycle they would have done it too if you were a pedestrian, bicyclist, or in a wheelchair [or on a Segway but then you'd deserve it]. Bad drivers can't be corrected with loud noises.

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The state law says a motorcycle can be up to 82 db when under 40 mph. We're not talking about them doing this after midnight.

The ordinance has NOTHING to do with how loud the muffler is. They said that your muffler has to have an EPA approval. What that means is that if you have a favorite third party muffler who doesn't worry about getting an EPA imprint on their gear, then you'd be up for a fine that is almost TEN TIMES HIGHER than the noise ordinance. Plus any muffler maker isn't going to have a giant EPA imprint on the outside of the muffler, because bikes are almost as much about looking good as they are about running well...so now you're going to expect a cop that wants to tag you for this new ordinance to lay down and look under your bike for the EPA imprint? PLUS, the cop could "not see an EPA imprint" and then give you a $300 ticket...even if your muffler is WHISPER QUIET! PLUS, if you find a loud muffler manufacturer who gets EPA approval somehow, then you would still not be targeted by this attempt to quiet motorcycles in the city! It's just a stupid stupid ordinance all around.

The problem here is that the council was trying to be tricksy about tagging these guys knowing that the loud muffler manufacturers aren't after EPA approval. They have thrown a too wide net to capture a small specific problem. It may even be because they can't put a more specific decibel rating on the books since the state already has one...I'm not sure if that's the case or not. But the end result is a HUGE fine in comparison to the fine that's already in place to handle this concern statewide and a net that grabs dolphins with the tuna...and even lets some of the tuna escape at the same time.

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My EPA stamped muffler has the stamp right on top, completely visible. If the stamp is on the bottom, I doubt the muffler is installed correctly, or on the correct motorcycle. Also, the sound packing can be removed from some older mufflers and the rider would still have the EPA stamp in place.

As for loud riders in the city, I sympathize. In the sticks (Cape Cod) we can hear them coming for miles. One town has even invested in noise meters to cut down on the ruckus. Personally, I wear ear plugs and a full face helmet. Even still, I hate the loud pipes that are particularly loud after the bike has passed...

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This protest would perfectly illustrate the proportion of restaurant patrons that take the T or walk versus the drivers that expect to park in front of their restaurant. As the previous commenter mentioned, all non-meter spaces become overnight spaces after 6pm once the meters become free.

Boston should take a lesson from the City of Cambridge and manage our parking supply. Look what they are doing in Harvard Square: http://www.cambridgema.gov/deptann.cfm?story_id=2591

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